Things That Matter

This T-Shirt Has Caused Controversy For Its Anti-Immigrant Imagery And Now The Store Has Been Forced To Apologize

A shirt with the slogan “got papers?” featuring the silhouette of a family fleeing caused outrage in Port Arthur, Texas. The T-shirt leaves nothing to the imagination and would only be worn by someone who delights in interrogating the immigration status of others. 

The Ebony Mart on Gulfway Drive, where the t-shirt is sold, is a hot spot for Latinx families in Port Arthur. 

“A lot of friends, family, everybody know this store. I knew this store since I was a baby,” Kathy Delarosa told KFDM News she visits the store two or three times a week. 

The 21-year-old was a loyal customer so when she visited Ebony Mart and saw the t-shirt in person, she was naturally upset. 

“I don’t think it’s really nice to have for the store because a lot of Hispanics will get offended. I don’t think they should sell it at all,” she said.

The Port Arthur Latinx community is not happy with Ebony Mart. 

Needless to say, seeing the t-shirt in their community did not make Latinx residents feel at home or welcome. The Port Arthur members felt like it was a slap in the face to immigrants. 

The owner, whose identity has not been revealed, claimed that she did not know the t-shirt was a part of a store order, according to KFDM. When KFDM spoke with the owner over the phone she said she no longer sold the shirts, instructed her manager to remove all of them from the racks, and extended an apology to the immigrant community. 

A candidate for Port Arthur City Council, Armando Ruiz, was not happy with the t-shirt either. 

“That’s outrageous,” said Ruiz. “That’s crazy. How a store would put out that type of product out there to sell. This is where I used to buy my uniforms, back when I went to school seven years ago. So this store is frequented a lot. It’s in a predominantly Hispanic area. A lot of Hispanics do come to this store.”

Political and offensive t-shirts appear to be a trend in the Trump era. 

T-shirts seemingly geared toward Trump supporters have been making the rounds, many of them have been singled out as offensive. Extrapolate what you will with regards to what that says about fans of the president. Just this week Bloomingdales was forced to remove a t-shirt that said one of Trump’s favorite phrases “Fake News.” 

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we apologize for any offense we may have caused. We take this feedback very seriously and are working quickly to remove this t-shirt. Again, thank you for taking the time to alert us,” the brand said in a statement. 

However, Pamela Wood s Baltimore journalist was not satisfied with the response saying, “Apologizing ‘for any offense we may have caused’ is not a sincere apology. This is not about journalists’ hurt feelings. This is about damage done to our democracy when your brand joins in perpetuating and celebrating the idea of “fake news.” Please try again.”

Port Arthur Residents feel business owners should be mindful of who they are selling to.

Texas is one of the most diverse states with Houston being the most diverse city in the country. Port Arthur is multicultural as well with Blacks making up 41 percent of the population, Whites 37 percent, and Latinx-identifying folks making up 29.6 percent of the population according to 2010 Census data. 

“When I saw the shirt, it is very offensive,” said Henry Jones III. “You have different ethnic groups in this area. In Southeast Texas, you have to be very careful what type of product you put out because you don’t want to offend people especially with something of that sort.”

Ruiz echoed Jones’ sentiment saying business owners need to be mindful of the communities they are representing. 

“They should look at the product before they put it out there to sell for the community,” said Ruiz. “They do need to look around their surroundings and see what type of people live in their community and check out what type of product they can have and can’t have.”

Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

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Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

dietprada/ Instagram

Anti-blackness has proven to be sorely out of style in the past few decades but the fashion world seems to be behind the times on this one. We’ve told you this story time and time again but somehow the presence of racism, anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation has endured on the runways. Even at institutes of learning where you’d think things like this would now be 101.

So here’s the story once again.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is under fire after they allowed a graduate student to send a racist body of work down the runway.

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It shouldn’t be down to the models to have to refuse wearing blatantly racist accessories on the runway, especially not in a show thrown by an institution like @fitnyc. In an alumni show celebrating their 75th anniversary, MFA graduate Junkai Huang showed a collection that was meant to highlight the “ugly features of the body”. The choice of exaggerated bright red fake lips and “monkey ears”, as well as the school’s response, are leaving us shaking our heads. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Nearing a breakdown, African-American model Amy Lefevre (@lefevrediary ) spoke up about the accessories, but was told by staff it was “ok to be uncomfortable for only 45 seconds”. It’s one thing when it’s a pair of tricky heels, but quite another when you’re made up to look like racist caricatures from the not-so-distant past. Multiple complaints had been made in the days leading up to the show as well, with several people objecting. One anonymous student who was witness backstage, said the show’s producer @richardthornn told the group to “back down and get away” when they brought up the issue again. The accessories didn’t end up making it onto Lefevre, but that didn’t stop them from going down the runway on other models. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a statement to the NY Post, FIT president Dr. Joyce F. Brown emphasized allowing the students the “freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative”, but said they would investigate further. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a time when luxury brands are taking swift action by pulling offensive products and implementing diversity councils in response to similar scandals, it’s a shame to see a learning institution dragging their feet. Shouldn’t they be the ones broadening insights for the ones who will lead fashion in the future and not reinforcing the same aspects that have made the industry notoriously problematic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • #fit #fitnyc #suny #cuny #fashionschool #college #mfa #mastersdegree #alumni #fitalumni #fashiondesigner #design #designer #runway #model #blackface #racism #monkey #grotesque #sexdoll #bodyimage #lumpsandbumps #wiwt #ootd #runwaymodel #nyfw #fashionweek #dietprada

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For the FIT’s presentation which showcased the designers from their first MFA Fashion Design class, students sent models down the runway with thier own collections. FIT alum Junkai Huang was part of the bunch but his line stood out in particular because of its blatant racism. The FIT alum sent models down the runway wearing “large prosthetic ears and lips and bushy eyebrows.” Now people are saying that the images looked quite a bit like racist caricatures.  

On Monday, Diet Prada shared images from the show on Instagram after someone who had gone to the event told the New York Post that the designer aimed to showcase and highlight “ugly features of the body” using props that had been sourced from sex toys.

Amy Lefévre was a model meant to take part in the event but decided to walk out when she saw the props.

“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefévre told the Post in an interview. According to Lefévre she made the decion to not take part when someone had told her that it was “fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.”

“I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions,” Lefévre said “My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life. People of color are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.”

Diet Prada later took to Instagram to share the situation, sparking outrage from many in the fashion community. “Sad times we live in when designers aren’t confident enough to have the clothing sell themselves,” wrote Olivia Dope while another commenter added, “When will this stop? Designers are hung up on controversy to sell cause these pieces can’t sell themselves, clearly.”

In a statement published by the Post, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, said that it would do its best to right the situation.

“This program protects a student’s freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative, so that they find that voice,” Dr. Brown said. “However provocative design and fashion might be though, my commitment to ensure that people are not made to feel uncomfortable, offended, or intimidated is also of the utmost importance not only to me personally but to the college community as well,” they added. “We take this obligation very, very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action regarding any complaint or concern that is made in this situation.”

In a separate statement to the Pst FIT also issued an apology.

“Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize — to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

Things That Matter

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

aoc / Instagram / Rush Limbaugh / Facebook

During the State of the Union address, President Donald Trump broke protocol and norms by awarding a “surprise” Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former winners of the award are Ellen DeGeneres, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Isabella Allende, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. The newest recipient is conservative and extreme radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh is the latest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Credit: @Acosta / Twitter

Rush Limbaugh is a Conservative radio host who is known to use racist, sexist, and xenophobic language during his shows. He has used his platform to slut-shame women fighting for affordable access to birth control and once referred to a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog. During one show, Limbaugh sang a song to perform a racist rant against then-President Barack Obama.

His racist, sexist, and xenophobic rantings are all documented because of his radio show.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been nationally syndicated since 1988 and boasts 25 million listeners monthly. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks are among the honorees of the award.

A lot of people don’t agree that Limbaugh deserves the honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is supposed to be reserved for civilians who have made major contributions to society. The contributions can be through the arts, philanthropy, science, etc. Many are wondering what Limbaugh has done to further society in a positive way. In a clip from “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Limbaugh is seen making fun of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.

Conservatives and Limbaugh fans are most upset with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s take on the medal.

It was recently revealed to the public that Limbaugh was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Many of the AOC critics have held tight to this fact when attacked the Congresswoman.

Some have gone strong against the New York Congresswoman.

Credit: @marklevinshow / Twitter

Conservatives on Twitter are up in arms about AOC calling out a man’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic past. They aren’t mad that the man said and did those things, just that a Latina Congresswoman reminded people of those comments. Think about that.

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party